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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Sept. 13

UPDATED: Thu., Sept. 13, 2018

Fly fishing

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene River has seen some good cutthroat fishing lately, the Silver Bow Fly Shop said. Look for the small slots or any sort of structure. The water is skinny, but less obvious water is yielding some big fish.

The St. Joe continues to provide good fly fishing. Fish slower water in the mornings and evenings and pocket water during the day. Caddis are out.

Overall, dry/droppers consisting of Chernobyls or hoppers with beadhead attractor nymphs will be one of the best tactics on the Spokane River.

Attractor patterns like Humpies, Trudes and Stimis have been effective recently on the Clark Fork.

Salmon and steelhead

The Okanogan River, from the Highway 97 Bridge upstream of the mouth to the bridge in Oroville, and the Similkameen River close for chinook on Saturday. The Wenatchee River closes Sept. 30, the upper Okanogan River closes Oct. 15, and the Chelan River closes Oct. 31. The retention fishery is two chinook per angler.

Trout and kokanee

Two friends and I tried Loon Lake one more night last week. The bite was almost nonexistent, and two of the five fish caught had lost their sheen and were quite slimy. The others were next year’s fish, running only to 9 inches. The unwanted bluegill bite, however, was outstanding with several hand-sized fish taken. Judging by the graph, there are huge schools about 20 feet below the surface.

Coeur d’Alene Lake kokanee spawn later than those in Loon Lake and are still in excellent shape. Fishing has been good for 11-inch fish almost everywhere, but Mica Bay has been outstanding.

September is the last month of trout fishing for many Columbia Basin (Grant and Adams counties) waters and a few others – Spectacle Lake and Washburn Island Pond in Okanogan County and Blackbird Island Pond in Chelan County.

September is also the last chance to fish several of the region’s rainbow and/or cutthroat trout fishing lakes. Closing Sept. 30 is Fishtrap Lake in Lincoln County and Badger and Williams in southwest Spokane County. With all limits off on West Medical trout, a few anglers are hauling in ridiculous numbers of fish.

Spokane County’s Downs Lake and Lincoln County’s Coffeepot Lake close at the end of the month but can yield good catches of perch, crappie and rainbow trout during September. Sprague Lake water clarity has improved considerably and some really large trout are being taken by trollers.

Rock Lake browns and rainbow are being taken by trollers dragging small spoons 30-40 feet below the surface.

Spiny ray

Year-round lakes continue to provide good fishing for bass and panfish, including Silver, Newman, Long, Bear, Eloika, Haden, Hauser, Fernan and Twin.

Smallmouth bass fishermen can hardly go wrong anywhere on the Snake River or on Coeur d’Alene Lake and particularly Priest Lake in Idaho. The fish are slowly moving back into shallower water and feeding heavily.

Coeur d’Alene pike seem to have moved back in the weeds in 5-8 feet of water rather than lurking on the outer edges. Usually, the bite picks up as the water cools, particularly for the larger fish. Hardcore pike anglers are looking forward to seeing water temperatures in the 50s.

Curlew Lake perch fishing was good all summer, but it picks up in the fall. There are also plenty of largemouth bass available. Don’t be surprised to find good rainbow trout fishing.

Other species

A white sturgeon retention fishery in the Lower Columbia River will take place the next two Saturdays upstream from Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam. Sturgeon from 44- to 50-inches fork length may be retained.


For me, fall turkey hunting (which will continue in most Washington units until the end of December) is not nearly as exciting as the spring season because the birds are almost too easy. Wednesday morning, I had 15 birds in my yard, and it took a lot of yelling to make them leave. Nonhunting friends say there doesn’t seem to be much challenge in shooting a turkey, but they have not experienced the spring season when the flocks break up and the mature gobblers become ultrawary because they do not have the security of the flock with all its eyes. If you’re looking for meat rather than challenge, you can kill four fall turkeys in Washington – two beardless and two either sex.

Doves are pretty much gone from the Spokane and North Idaho area, but according to reports, hunters to the south are still having some decent shooting. Grouse are also beginning to show up, but it appears this will not be a banner year. Judging from the population around my house, cottontail rabbits have done well recently. Four years ago, it was unusual to see a cottontail north of Spokane.

Washington bear season ends Nov. 15. Hunters may take two bear, but only one in eastern Washington.

Contact Alan Liere at

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